By Jennipher Vasquez
The keynote speaker for Hispanic Heritage Month encouraged all in attendance in Landis Auditorium to hold hands as a sign of unity Oct. 4.
United Farm Workers Union cofounder Dolores Huerta, 92, encouraged young voters to take advantage of their democratic right to vote, citing the volatility amongst current political leaders.
Throughout the speech she shared memories from her early years as an activist alongside Cesar Chavez, how her experiences influenced her advocacy path and the backlash she as well as those around her suffered after she and Chavez co-founded the United Farm Workers Union.
“The power is in each and every one of us, we can change things,” Huerta said. “You cannot expect anybody to come in and do this for you, you have to do this for yourself.”
She discussed college tuition, abortion laws and immigrant rights, pushing students to pay close attention to what they vote on and advocate for.
Huerta said Chavez often reassured her that the farm workers needed her help because she had questioned whether or not she was capable.
“If they didn’t need your help they would have already been organized,” she quoted her collaborator in the struggle as saying.
The audience was allowed to ask Huerta questions following the speech, but most used the opportunity to praise her for her activism, the non-violent approach she and Chavez applied to their movement and her resilience through every hurdle.
Miguel Arias, RCC campus groundskeeper, approached the stage to applaud Huerta before she exited the stage following a standing ovation by the audience.
Arias is a prominent presence at Cesar Chavez Day events that have been held on campus over the years, including back in 2019 when UFW President Teresa Romero delivered a speech to RCC as part of the celebrations.
“Ustedes cambiaron todo,” he said to Huerta as he stood before the stage. “Gracias por venir a RCC!”
Translation: “You all changed everything, thank you for coming to RCC!”